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Thursday, August 31, 2006

National Geographic releases Suwannee River Wilderness Trail map

Published: August 30, 2006, Suwannee Democrat
Travelers along the Suwannee River Wilderness Trail can experience nature at its best along the 170 miles of sandbars and rocky banks from the small eco-tourism town of White Springs to the town of Suwannee on the Gulf of Mexico. The river can be traveled by canoe, kayak or boat on self-guided tours or with the help of an outfitter. There are plenty of places for swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving and fishing along the way.
Source

National Geographic - Suwannee River Wilderness Trail

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

WaterWays, a course in water resources...

...designed to help students understand the need for the proper management of this precious resource.
Lesson 1 The Water Cycle
Lesson 2 Water, It's Special
Lesson 3 Water Above the Ground
Lesson 4 Aquifers
Lesson 5 More About Water Below the Ground
Lesson 6 Our Important Wetlands and Uplands
Lesson 7 Our Rivers and Streams
Lesson 8 Abundant Lakes
Lesson 9 Along Our Coast
Lesson 10 The Water We Use
Lesson 11 Potable Water
Lesson 12 Landfills, Leaks and Spills
Lesson 13 Too Much...or Not Enough?
Lesson 14 Water Management in Florida
Source

Springs discussion revives debate over growth

Published August 26, 2006, Tallahassee Democrat
A session at Saturday's Wakulla Springs forum on how to manage growth produced a familiar debate: how to make sure growth pays for its impacts without making homes unaffordable.

Sparkman touted Wakulla's tough wetlands ordinance now making its way through approval channels to become county law. It will be one of the most restrictive, protective laws in the state aimed at protecting watersheds from irresponsible development and resulting wastewater and stormwater pollution, he said.
Source

Dunnellon development still under gun

Proposed Rainbow River Ranch is officially off the table; developer will resubmit.
Published Aug. 29, 2006
Dunnellon area residents who derailed a proposed 350-home development along the Rainbow River say they will dig in their heels yet again and fight the developer's next plan.
Source

Monday, August 28, 2006

Our View: Pollution problems worsening

Published August 28, 2006
The natural springs that bubble up from Florida's underground aquifer have been called pools of liquid light because of their mesmerizing clarity and beauty.

But like so much else of the state's environment, they're under worsening assault by development-triggered pollution.
Source

Travails of the mermaid mayor

Published Aug 26, 2006
It all started in 2003 when the park was donated to the City of Weeki Wachee. The attraction was rapidly deteriorating and faced being shut down. When the park was offered, city officials jumped at the chance to salvage what was left. What they didn’t know is that they would be slammed with more than $1 million worth of repairs.

A tumultuous legal battle with Swiftmud ensued over the legalities of the handover (see info box for details). Anderson was mayor of the city and thus became manager of the park. So it fell to her to head up the fight and come up with the means to bring the park back to its original splendor.
Source

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Jackson Blue Spring (Jackson County)

(Inside the Blue Springs Recreational Area)
5461 Blue Springs Hwy
Marianna, FL 32447
Phone: 850-718-0437
Hours: Tues-Sun 11-6 Closed Mondays
Cost: $2 per person
Directions:
From I-10 Take Exit 142 Heading North on SR 71 for about 2 miles
Take a left on US-90 Heading West for about 2 miles
Take a Right onto SR-71 North and go about 1 mile
Take a right on Blue Springs Road (CR-164) and head about 3.2 miles
The park entrance is on the right

I believe this is one of the best springs out there to take your family to. This spring is managed as a local county park. They have a roped off section for small kids, concession stand, picnic area close to spring, big slide, diving board, playground ...

This park is openes on Memorial Weekend and Closed Labor Day. Call for Hours.
They are closed on Mondays. General hours are usually 11-6.

Video Taken 8/26/2006 (Requires Flash Player Ver 8.0 or higher)


Pictures taken 8/26/2006
















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Cave Adventures
5211 Limestone Lane
Marianna, Florida 32446
Contact: 850-272-2346 Edd Sorenson (Owner)
Air Fills - Continuous Blend Nitrox, Oxygen and Argon
Rentals - Pontoon Boats, Scooters and Tanks
Website


Boat Ramp - Merritt's Mill Pond (#110)
Travel north of Marianna on SR 71 for 1.0 mile, then right on Blue Springs Road (CR 164) for 1.5 miles. Right on Hunter Fish Camp Road for 0.8 mile to ramp.

Single-lane ramp with unimproved parking lot capable of accommodating 10 vehicles.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission


More Info:
Florida Springs Database
Info from Jackson County Chamber of Commerce
Springs Fever ...

Blue Hole Spring (Jackson County)

(Inside Florida Caverns State Park)
3345 Caverns Road
Marianna, Florida 32446
Phone: 850-482-9598
Cost: $4 per vehicle

2nd Magnitude Spring
In the swimming area the water was murky. Not recommended for swimming. Picnic Tables were very close though to swimming area.

Video taken 8/26/2006 (Requires Flash Player Ver 8.0 or higher)


Pictures taken 8/26/2006


















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More Info:
Florida Online Park Guide
Florida Springs Database
Springs Fever...

They all hope to save Wakulla Springs

Published August 26, 2006, Tallahassee Democrat
Saving Wakulla Springs from further pollution will require accountability, communication, cooperation and a lot less finger-pointing, participants in a public forum at the Wakulla Springs State Park lodge said Saturday.

About 150 residents, volunteers, government representatives and office seekers gathered to share ideas on how to restore the springs, damaged by nitrogen pollution from sewage and stormwater sources.

"Public ownership of the springshed is the ultimate solution in springs protection," panelist Jim Stevenson said during the opening session. Stevenson is coordinator of the Wakulla Spring Basin Work Group and a former biologist for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.
Source

Mediation may hasten protection of Wakulla Springs

Published August 25, 2006, Tallahassee Democrat
The city and opponents of Tallahassee's wastewater spray field this morning agreed to mediation in an attempt to resolve their differences - a move that Wakulla County's attorney said could help speed protection of Wakulla Springs.
Source

Save Wakulla Springs: Listen to the entire event

Published August 26, 2006, Tallahassee Democrat
This morning, experts gathered at the Wakulla Springs State Park Lodge to put into plain language what individuals can do to help protect Florida's springs.

All four sessions of the event are now available to download and listen in Windows Media Audio or MP3 formats. Click the links to the right side of the page to listen or right-click to them download. The MP3 files can be saved to any digital music player.
Source

Friday, August 25, 2006

Swim in the springs, but first read this about allergies

Published August 24, 2006, Tallahassee Democrat.
Wakulla Springs is safe to swim in, state environmental and health officials said today, but a state spring expert said those with serious allergies should beware of a reaction brought on by a kind of algae in the water.

Since 1999, state park officials have taken anecdotal reports from 31 people - mostly at Ichetucknee and Fanning springs - who complained of allergic reactions after swimming.
Source

Spray field legal challenge in limbo

Published August 24, 2006, Tallahassee Democrat.
Critics of Tallahassee's wastewater spray field want a judge to place conditions on granting the city's request to put a legal challenge on hold.

Every day as much as 20 million gallons of wastewater from two city sewage plants is sprayed on crops at the Tram Road facility. Some scientists say the spray field is a likely source of nitrogen flowing to Wakulla Springs, which has become choked with weeds and algae.
Source

Wakulla water bottling permit approved

Published August 24, 2006, Tallahassee Democrat.
The Northwest Florida Water Management District today approved a permit request to pump up to 70,900 gallons per day for a proposed water-bottling operation near Wakulla Springs.

Meanwhile, the Wakulla County Commission this week agreed to hold two workshops to discuss the High's request to build the bottling plant. The first hearing is scheduled for Oct. 3, according to an attorney for the couple.
Source

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Nice trail hides under trash, broken glass

Pubslihed August 06, 2006
Back in March, officials gathered to cut the ribbon for the O'Leno-to-Ichetucknee Trail, even though it still wasn't officially open.

This 12.5-mile trail is appealing for a few reasons. It connects two state parks, O'Leno on the Santa Fe River and Ichetucknee Springs and its swimming holes and tubing runs. And by crossing the U.S. 27 bridge over the Ichetucknee, trail riders can connect to the Suwannee River Greenway, a second trail that rolls on through Branford and ends just a short pedal from Little River Spring on the Suwannee River.

Two parks, three rivers, two small North Florida towns and a few good swimming holes, all connected by two end-to-end trails, at least on paper.
Source

Limits sought on delay of spray-field challenge

Published August 23, 2006
Critics of Tallahassee's wastewater spray field want limits placed on the city's request for delaying a legal challenge.

Scientists say the spray field is a likely source of nitrogen that has caused Wakulla Springs to become choked with weeds and algae.
Source

A pristine, serene trip along the river

Article about a scenic journey on the Weeki Wachee.
Published July 21, 2006
Weeki Wachee River. Fueled by a 64-million-gallon-per-day charge from the Floridan Aquifer, the pristine waterway flows from its headwaters inside the Weeki Wachee Springs theme park through one of the area's most scenic wild spaces.

The only legal way to get on the northern stretch of the river is via Weeki Wachee Canoe and Kayak Rental, where, for about the cost of a ticket to an overhyped summer blockbuster movie, you can spend a few leisurely hours enjoying the wonder and beauty only nature can bring to the screen.
Source

Changes expected for Water Authority

Volusia's pioneering city-county group, formed in 2003, could be scaled back or eliminated today.
Posted August 23, 2006
Nearly everyone in Florida taps the aquifer, an underground river, for water, but the population boom has experts warning that utilities may soon need to convert other sources of water, such as the St. Johns River or brackish water near the coast, into drinking water.
Source

Cousteau continues environmental legacy

Published August 23, 2006
The recent Blue Spring trip was a part of that crusade. The very existence of the park that encompasses and protects the spring and the manatees is due to an episode of Jacques Cousteau’s TV series in 1971.

At the time, the spring was a popular and unregulated spot for picnics and swimming. Some of the visitors tried to ride the manatees. Some of the more careless ones left beer cans and other garbage behind.

Cousteau was so enraged he refused to film until the place was cleaned. His emotional tribute to the lumbering animals prompted a public outcry and spurred the state to buy and protect the property.

The young Cousteau has returned to Blue Spring 35 years later, concerned about another threat: a controversial plan to pump ground water near the spring for residential usage, lowering the water level of the spring and possibly threatening its status as a haven for the mammals.
Source

Water policy divides GOP candidates

Published August 21, 2006
Interesting facts about water bottlers in the Suwannee River Water Management.

According to the district, eight permits have been issued for water bottling operations but only three are now being used: Seven Springs in Gilchrist County, withdrawing an average of about 326,000 gallons per day; Suntory Water in Levy County, withdrawing 27,000 gallons a day; and Nestle Waters in Madison County, withdrawing 320,000 gallons a day. Pope said he worked to revoke another 13 unused bottling permits for significant amounts of water and establish minimum flow levels guaranteeing aquifers aren't depleted.
Source

Madison Blue Spring State Park

8300 N.E. State Road 6
Lee, Florida 32059
Contact: 850-971-5003
Hours: Open 365 days a year from 8:00 a.m. to sunset.
Cost: $4 per vehicle
Directions:
From Tallahassee, Take I-10 East to Exit 258, Take a left off exit and go North on SR 53. to Hwy 90, Then take a right heading east on Hwy 90 to SR 6 (East) (sign on left), go aprox 9 miles on SR 6, park is on the right (before bridge separating county lines Madison and Hamilton County)

Spring flows into the Withlacoochee River.

Video taken 7/16/2006 (Requires Flash Player Ver 8.0 or higher)


Pictures taken 7/16/2006




















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More Info
Florida Online Park Guide
The Withlacoochee River Canoe Trail

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Weeki Wachee, Swiftmud stalled on lease agreement

Published: Aug 21, 2006
Weeki Wachee Springs and the Southwest Florida Water Management District (Swiftmud) are stalled once again in attempts to resolve their longstanding disagreement.
Source

Monday, August 21, 2006

Springs of the Suwannee

Special thanks to Pat Batchelder (GIS Graphic Specialist) of the Suwannee River Water Management District.

Click image to enlarge
Springs of the Suwannee












To request a copy of the "Springs of the Suwannee" brochure, contact Debbie Davidson at 386.362.1001 or 800.226.1066 (FL only)
http://mysuwanneeriver.com/index.asp?NID=271

Click image to enlarge
Publically Accessible Springs of the Suwannee River
Note: Source of image is from FL. Dept of Environmental Protection

Upper Suwannee & Withlacoochee Rivers
(Boating, Canoeing & Recreation Guide)
Upper Suwannee and Withlacoochee Rivers
Recreation guide which contains a navigational map and GPS readings for park, landings, and river facilities.

Ordering Info:
Send your request, mailing address, and a check made payable to American Canoe Adventures in the amount of $3.65 (for guide + postage) to:
American Canoe Adventures
10610 Bridge St.
White Springs, FL 32096
(386) 397-1309
Website

Lower Suwannee & Santa Fe Rivers
(Boating, Canoeing & Recreation Guide)
Lower Suwannee and Santa Fe Rivers
Recreation guide which contains a navigational map and GPS readings for park, landings, and river facilities.

Ordering Info:
(352) 463-3467
FanningSpringsCh@bellsouth.net
Note: You can also order this map from American Canoe Adventures.
Website

Upper Suwannee River Boat Ramps & Canoe Launches
Lower Suwannee River Boat Ranps & Canoe Launches

Attend Wakulla Springs workshop

Published August 20, 2006, Tallahassee Democrat.
Saturday morning, experts will gather at the Wakulla Springs State Park Lodge to put into plain language what individuals can do to help protect Florida's springs.

Because the community forum is inside Wakulla Springs State Park Lodge, the number of participants had to be limited. While they last, free tickets (which include entrance to the park) can be picked up at the Tallahassee Democrat during regular business hours. For more ticket information, call Angela Joe at 850-599-2181.
Source

GPS Coordinates of more than 700+ springs from the Florida Springs Database Online

Here is a visual depiction of what all the springs looks like when imported into Microsoft MapPoint

Click image to enlargeMap of Springs












Source of data:
Florida Springs Database

Download Microsoft MapPoint with GPS Coordinates of these springs. (Rename file to florida-springs.ptm

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Alexander Spring (Lake County)

(part of Ocala National Forest)
Directions:
From the junction of State Road (SR) 40 and SR 445A in Astor Park, drive southwest on SR 445A for 0.5 mile, then turn south on SR 445 for 5.9 miles. Turn north onto the road at the entrance to Alexander Springs Recreation Area

Pictures taken 7/3/2006




















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More Info:
Springs Fever ...

Lake County Water Resources Atlas

Orlando Sentinel's Florida Springs Guide

Recreation.gov

St. Johns River Water Management District

Plan to bottle water near Wakulla Springs moves forward

Published July 31, 2006, Tallahassee Democrat
The Northwest Florida Water Management District is recommending approval of a controversial request to pump water for bottling near Wakulla Springs.

D. P. "Dan" and Ruth High applied to the agency in June for a new application to pump up 70,900 gallons per day.

The new recommendation on the water permit clears the way for an Aug. 24 public hearing on the request. The permit would expire Feb. 1, 2009.
Source

A dangerous hobby if untrained

Published August 17, 2006, Suwannee Democrat
Cave diving is dangerous! In Suwannee County, according to Chief Suwannee County Deputy Ron Colvin, there have been five cave-diving related deaths in the past five years.
Sourrce

Here are a couple links to some glossaries as it regards to springs.

Florida Springs Glossary
Florida Spring Classification System and Spring Glossary (PDF)
Florida Geological Survey Special Publication No. 52.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Lafayette Blue Springs State Park

799 N.W. Blue Spring Road
Mayo, Florida 32066
Phone: 386-294-3667
Hours: from 8:00 a.m. until sunset 365 days a year.
Cost $4 per vehicle.

According to the Park Ranger this park is a new State Park before it was run by the County. A boat landing is available from within the park, which will take you onto the Suwannee River which this spring flows into.

Directions: Park is located aprox 26 miles from Perry, FL / 7 miles northwest of Mayo on the west side of the Suwannee River. From Mayo, drive northwest on US 27 for 4.3 miles Turn right on CR 292 and continue for 2.1 miles. Turn east on Blue Springs Road and go 0.7 miles to the park entrance.

Video taken 8/17/2006


Pictures taken 8/17/2006.





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More Info: Florida Online Park Guide

City to Enhance Wastewater Treatment Plans

News release from Aug 4th, 2006
The City of Tallahassee today announced its intention to seek a remand of the pending application for wastewater treatment and disposal back into the hands of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)
The City has been seeking to renew its operating permit for the sprayfield, while at the same time conducting scientific research into how groundwater travels away from the sprayfield. This research is being conducted as part of a larger project to determine the causes of water quality concerns at Wakulla Springs State Park. Recent studies undertaken both prior to and during the course of permitting and the challenge to the permit have given City officials enough concern to warrant this new direction.
Source

DCA: Springs protections inadequate

Published August 16, 2006, Tallahassee Democrat
State asks for stronger action by Wakulla

The Tallahassee Democrat is sponsoring a community forum on Wakulla Springs on Aug. 26 from 9 to 11:30 a.m. at the Wakulla Springs State Park lodge
Source

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Florida's Top 10 Springs

From earlier this year, Orlando Sentinel Lists the Top 10 springs around Orlando and in Central Florida. Gives info about spring including where it's located, and a brief history of the spring. Springs covered Here are the top 10 springs around Orlando and in Central Florida:
Blue Spring
Silver Springs
Rainbow Springs
Silver Glen Springs
Juniper Spring
Alexander Spring
Wekiwa Springs
Rock Springs
DeLeon Springs
Salt Springs
Source

Saving our Springs

This series is designed to help you understand the perils facing Florida springs and your role in their stewardship. Senior writer Jennifer Portman and growth / environment reporter Bruce Ritchie spent nearly three months interviewing key players in the effort to save Wakulla Springs, as well as Ichetucknee Springs, Fanning Springs and others. Published earlier this year in the Tallahassee Democrat but well worth reading in case you missed it.
Source

Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park (Wakulla County)

550 Wakulla Park Drive
Wakulla Springs, Florida 32327
Phone: 850-224-5950
Hours: open from 8 a.m. until sundown 365 days a year.
Cost $4 per vehicle up to 8 persons.

One of the world’s largest and deepest fresh water springs.

Pictures taken 9/8/2007




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More Info:
Directions (Map - PDF)

Florida Online Park Guide
Nature Trails Map
Park Brochure
Wakulla-Leon Sinks Cave Map (PDF)

Wakulla Spring Basin, North Florida

Wakulla Spring's Springshed
Wikipedia

Wekiwa Springs State Park (Orange County)

1800 Wekiwa Circle
Apopka, Florida 32712
Phone: 407-884-2008
Hours: 8 a.m. until sundown 365 days a year.
Cost: $5.00 per vehicle up to 8 persons

Directions: From Orlando take Exit 94 off of I-4, Take State Road 434 West to Wekiwa Springs Road. Turn right on Wekiwa Springs Rd. and travel approximately 4 miles to the park entrance which will be on the right.

Canoeing and Camping is allowed, call park for details.
Not many areas for small children to go into water who can't swim, average depth of water was at least 3 feet or more.

Video taken 8/11/2006. (Requires Flash Player Ver 8.0 or higher)





Pictures taken 8/11/2006.





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More info:
Florida Online Park Guide

Orlando Sentinel - Florida Springs Guide

Blue Spring State Park (Volusia County, FL)

2100 West French Avenue
Orange City, Florida 32763
Phone: 386-775-3663
Hours: from 8:00 a.m. until sunset 365 days a year.
Cost: $5 per vehicle

Directions: From Orlando, Take exit 114 off of I-4, follow signs.

Canoeing and Camping is allowed, call park for details.

Not many areas for small children to go into water who can't swim, average depth of water was at least 3 feet or more.

Video taken 8/10/2006. (Requires Flash Player Ver 8.0 or higher)



Pictures taken 8/10/2006.










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More Info:
Florida Online Park Guide